Blog Posts by Steve Mertl

  • Good Samaritans rescue baby boy pinned under car

    Chances are a six-month-old boy who was struck by a car Tuesday won't have any memory of the accident that nearly cost him his young life or the guardian angels who rescued him.

    The baby was being pushed in a stroller by his mother as they crossed an intersection in Nanaimo, B.C., on Tuesday when they were struck by a car running a red light, the Nanaimo Daily News reports.

    The baby, strapped into a car seat plopped into the stroller, was hurled into the street, ending up under the car.

    The mother cried for someone to help her screaming baby. That's when passersby quickly leapt into action.

    [ Related: Officers and bystanders rescue 6-year-old boy pinned under car ]

    Around five people grabbed the rear end of the new model Volkswagen Jetta and lifted it off the ground so another could pull the baby from underneath.

    The child suffered only minor brushes and scraps but was kept in hospital overnight for observation as a precaution, RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien said. Perhaps the car seat did

    Read More »from Good Samaritans rescue baby boy pinned under car
  • Manitoba court system opens the door to TV cameras, but just a crack

    Television cameras are inching their way into Canada's courtrooms, ever so slowly.

    A Manitoba judge's verdict in a murder case was streamed live Wednesday afternoon, the first time ever the province's court system has allowed such a crucial element of a criminal case to be televised, CBC News reported.

    It's part of a pilot program to test the viability of cameras at all levels of the province's court system.

    Associate Chief Justice Shane Perlmutter found Cassandra Knott not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of her husband, CBC News said.

    The camera focused only on the judge, who heard the case without a jury, as he delivered his ruling. Media outlets, including the Winnipeg Free Press, relayed the live stream.

    [ Related: Woman found not guilty of murder in Manitoba's first televised verdict ]

    The experiment has the backing of the chief judges of all three levels of Manitoba's court system, the Free Press said.

    "Courts must be open to the public," Court of Appeal Chief

    Read More »from Manitoba court system opens the door to TV cameras, but just a crack
  • Another Vancouver bus driver attacked; how can we protect them?

    Apparently B.C. transit authorities' efforts to curb assaults on its drivers isn't sinking in.

    An awareness campaign called "Don't Touch the Operator" was launched at the end of March after a series of vicious assaults on bus drivers in Metro Vancouver.

    But two weeks in, cameras recorded another one, this time involving a woman in a wheelchair.

    According to CTV News, the driver had stopped to pick up passengers on the Downtown Eastside on Tuesday afternoon and was lowering the bus's ramp to allow the woman to roll on. But he changed his mind when she began acting aggressively.

    “She apparently was very agitated, started hurling verbal abuse at the bus driver," transit police spokeswoman Anne Drennan told Global News. "It apparently was about another bus on that line, and its driver, but nonetheless she was very abusive.”

    But as he was raising the ramp, surveillance video shows woman leaping out of her wheelchair and, still holding onto it, launching herself onto the bus, where she

    Read More »from Another Vancouver bus driver attacked; how can we protect them?
  • Caught on video: Near-miss between cop, longboarders now under review

    For most visitors to Vancouver who gaze across Burrard Inlet to the North Shore, it's a view filled with leafy neighbourhoods marching halfway up the mountainsides of West and North Vancouver.

    But longboarders see something else: Heaven, the longboarding equivalent of surfing meccas such as Australia's Gold Coast or Hawaii's Pipeline.

    West Vancouver is especially attractive, with posh homes lining steep, twisting streets that see little traffic. Residents have to keep a wary eye for longboarders whizzing by at speeds sometimes approaching 90 kilometres an hour.

    Longboarding is illegal in the municipality but the $45 first-time-offender fine hardly seems to discourage enthusiasts.

    West Vancouver police have tried persuading longboarders to stop these clandestine runs, even participating in a meeting last year to look at the possibility of temporary road closures to accommodate the sport.

    [ Related: Longboarders at Higher Risk for Injury Than Skateboarders ]

    But I suspect part of the

    Read More »from Caught on video: Near-miss between cop, longboarders now under review
  • Veteran senior Mountie charged with underage sex offences dating back to 1982

    Insp. Ronald Patrick Makar, shown here in 1994, spent most of his career in Saskatchewan.

    The RCMP is reeling after a senior officer was charged with underage sex offences dating back to 1982, when he was a young constable in Saskatchewan.

    Insp. Ronald Patrick Makar, the chief operations officer at the Wood Buffalo Detachment in Fort McMurray, Alta., was arrested at his job Tuesday, the Mounties said in a news release reproduced by the Regina Leader-Post.

    The Mounties said they launched an investigation after the alleged victim came forward last April and said she'd been assaulted in the summer of 1982 at a home in Carlyle, Sask. Makar, a 34-year RCMP veteran, was serving in Carlyle in his first year as a constable at the time, CBC News said.

    Makar, 54, is charged with one count of sexual intercourse with a female without her consent and one count of intercourse with a female under age 14 under Criminal Code sections in force at the time. The current equivalent charges would be sexual assault.

    [ Related: RCMP dogged by yet another sexual-harassment suit ]

    Constance Haduik,

    Read More »from Veteran senior Mountie charged with underage sex offences dating back to 1982
  • Rampant price-gouging, reckless driving prompts Ontario to propose tow truck regulations

    I wonder if the long, harsh winter Canadians just endured has anything to do with the Ontario government's move to crack down on the province's tow-truck business.

    Plenty of drivers probably found themselves on the hook, so to speak, after sliding off some icy road or finding their vehicle had simply chilled out.

    Whether the timing's coincidental or not, Ontario Consumer Services Minister Tracy MacCharles has announced changes to the Consumer Protection Act to impose regulations on the towing and vehicle storage industries aimed at eliminating price gouging, the Toronto Star reports.

    There's always been a Wild West element to the largely unregulated tow-truck business, with drivers racing each other to reach crash sites and holding illegally parked vehicles for ransom after they're towed.

    [ Related: Killed tow truck driver's friends praise tabled move-over law ]

    Globe and Mail automotive columnist Peter Cheney, writing last November, described tow trucks lurking near Highway 401

    Read More »from Rampant price-gouging, reckless driving prompts Ontario to propose tow truck regulations
  • Digital Privacy Act not so good for privacy, critics say

    It's funny how laws proposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government sometimes have titles that critics say mean the exact opposite of what they claim to do.

    The Fair Elections Act is being slammed on all sides as being anything but fair, and now the, government's Digital Privacy Act is also being nominated for the doublespeak roll of honour.

    Bill S-4 actually amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, but Digital Privacy Act has a more consumer-friendly ring to it. It aims to crack down on identity theft by making it a criminal offence to traffic in someone's identity documents.

    [ Related: Data privacy shapes up as a next-generation trade barrier ]

    The law, which is receiving first reading in the Senate, requires businesses and other organizations to tell consumers when their personal information has been lost or stolen via hacking. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to $100,000 under the new legislation.

    All that's good, but

    Read More »from Digital Privacy Act not so good for privacy, critics say
  • Ontario police collar head of cult-like church on sex and violence charges

    Frederick King.Judging from his photo, Frederick King hardly looks like a charismatic religious leader who held a Mormon splinter sect in his thrall.

    But the pudgy, moustachioed King apparently controlled the Church of Jesus Christ Restored that dwelled in a former Ontario ski resort and allegedly kept several "church wives" while ruling his congregation allegedly through intimidation and violence.

    King, 55, was arrested in a Hamilton, Ont., hotel room on the weekend and charged with more than 20 criminal counts, including sexual and physical assault, uttering death threats, sexual interference and sexual exploitation, the National Post reports.

    King's brother, Judson William King, was arrested in Oakville, Ont., last week and charged with assault with a weapon, uttering death threats and four counts of assault, QMI Agency reported.

    [ Related: Polygamy, exploitation charges considered in Bountiful case ]

    Frederick King dropped off the radar in 2012 after Ontario Provincial Police began investigating

    Read More »from Ontario police collar head of cult-like church on sex and violence charges
  • Privacy watchdog slams Toronto police for sharing suicide-attempt reports with U.S.

    Attempting suicide is not a crime either in Canada or the United States. It's considered a mental health emergency and is treated as such.

    Suicides or attempts are also generally private. News organizations don't report them unless publicity can't be avoided — in the case of a celebrity, say — or it's an incident that directly affects the public.

    So it's disconcerting to learn police forces in Ontario have been sharing data on suicide attempts with U.S. border agents and the FBI via the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), causing some travellers to be barred from entering the United States.

    Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian published a report Monday into her investigation of several cases in which Ontario residents were barred from crossing the border apparently because of their mental-health history.

    She specifically cited the Toronto Police Service as having a policy of automatically recording all incidents of suicide in CPIC's Special Interest Police

    Read More »from Privacy watchdog slams Toronto police for sharing suicide-attempt reports with U.S.
  • Plans for Jim Flaherty’s rare state funeral excite mixed reviews

    I don't know about you, but I was surprised when it was announced former finance minister Jim Flaherty would receive a state funeral.

    Flaherty died suddenly a month after stepping down from the post he'd held ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives were elected in 2006. Though he'd been battling a serious and painful auto-immune skin disease that left him looking tired and bloated, Flaherty, 64, claimed to be in otherwise good health and looking forward to a new life in the private sector.

    So when he died in his Ottawa condo apartment Thursday morning of an apparent heart attack, the entire political establishment reeled in shock. Grief crossed party lines – witness NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair struggling to hold it together before the cameras.

    People from inside politics and out came forward to share their stories about Flaherty, his combativeness but also his personal warmth, generosity and his ability to remain friends with political opponents – traits not normally

    Read More »from Plans for Jim Flaherty’s rare state funeral excite mixed reviews

Pagination

(1,580 Stories)